Street snacks are delightful treats. Completely unhealthy, completely unhygienic but a mouthful of happiness nonetheless. A week is incomplete if you don’t eat from a street stall. And there is so much to choose from. Should you have pani puri or chat or dahi vada or bhelpuri? While all of them are not the healthiest of options some are healthier than others. Fast food should be consumed once in a while but we have made it a staple part of our diet. Let’s face it, no matter how many headlines we read about how unhealthy these are, we will never stop gorging on them. So amongst all the street foods, which one is a better option for you? Maybe fruit salad! Just kidding, we will not do that to you.
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Pani puri aka golgappa or phuchkas are fascinating Indian snacks that you are bound to miss if you are travelling abroad. The names might be different but they taste all the same i.e. delicious. It can be surprising to know that pani puris can be a source of high fat calories. Yes, these crispy balls are not really very healthy, in spite of being just filled potatoes added with “meetha/teekha paani”. For those who don’t know, these are fluffy crispy puris usually filled with mashed potatoes, moong or chana dal boiled dipped in an incredibly tangy spiced up imli ka chutney (Tamarind sauce). The fat content of this snack is high undoubtedly because the pani puris are deep fried, potatoes have high calories and sometimes they have boondis which are deep fried as well. The worst part is you always overeat pani puris. 10 ka dijiye se it becomes 20 ka followed by 30 ka and you don’t even realize it.
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Now, coming to another close competitor in the snacks department, Bhel puri is comparatively a light snack mainly because of its principle ingredient which happens to be muri or puffed rice. It also contains sev (or bhujia), puris and other kinds of chutneys because Indian snacks thrive on these delicious syrups. The sev contains a lot of calories but the good news is that it is usually sprinkled to garnish the snack and hence won’t kill you. The chutneys may not be completely healthy but they won’t make you fat. In fact, they are usually very runny and diluted. Another fact is, Bhel Puris generally have vegetables like onions, cucumber, tomatoes, and most vendors serve them with finely chopped coconut. So, there go your extra bits of nutrition.
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However, irrespective of the comparison and the calorie counts, these street foods have an aura which can attract event the strictest fitness trainer! There are ways to make healthier and not so delicious versions of these street snacks but a healthy street food is sort of a paradox. How can it taste so good if it’s healthy? If you want something healthy go for a Caesar salad or something. Bhel puri and pani puris are definitely not meant for fitness freaks. They are meant, however, for those blissful cheat days. So sweat it out in the gym and then cheat once in a while with some mouths full of golgappas.